photo of Reilly HowardLife is crazy. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. That’s how fast things move- in the blink of an eye. As lovers of sport and recreation, its easy to understand the appeal of a fast-moving lifestyle. Though this begs the question, what happens when things move too fast? Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the breakneck pace of the world around us. When the physical world gets to be too much, we often attempt to retreat into our own minds. Yet just as often, people are met with an unsettling amount of anxiety and stressful thoughts within the mind. Enter the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is seemingly the buzzword of the late 2010s. Every fitness guru, professional athlete, and social media influencer is seemingly screaming “you have to practice mindfulness!” from the top of their lungs. Sure, that’s all fine and well, but what exactly is mindfulness? This term can be defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” (Jaret, et.al, 2020). Mindfulness is essentially finding peace and quiet in one's own mind. It sounds simple enough, sure. Yet remember those unsettling thoughts I talked about earlier? Well, how in the world are we supposed to find peace and quiet inside our own mind with those there? The answer is mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be practiced almost anywhere at any time. The key is to center in on oneself and the thoughts that are keeping an individual from feeling at peace. That fast-paced lifestyle creates a whirlwind of thoughts; it's up to us to focus on those thoughts and figure out how to slow them down. That’s where breathing and focusing come into play. According to the author of “Breathe, Exhale, and Repeat: What are the Benefits of Controlled Breathing?” Dr. Joseph Mercola, “‘Controlled breathing is one way to trigger your relaxation response, as it activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn may slow down your heart rate and digestion which helps you feel calm’” (PowerofPositivity, 2018). To slow down our stressful thoughts and flush out the anxious one, we must focus on exactly how we’re breathing. Taking a proper deep breath- or sequence of deep breaths- can calm our whole body and in turn, clear the mind.

The whole idea of clearing the mind seems incredibly daunting. If it were that easy, we would never feel stressed, right? Not so much. Since many of us operate with a passion for living a fast-paced life, we don’t always take the time to learn the proper habits for taking care of ourselves. While breathing is an essential function for life, proper breathing is a learned skill. Mindfulness isn't easy, it takes time. To succeed at it, you have to first succeed in learning the steps of it. It’s important to know that mindfulness is more than just a practice- it’s a lifestyle. The ability to practice mindfulness cuts back on the added stress in our lives. Feeling less stressed and more in tune with ourselves helps us really enjoy and appreciate the world around us, even on our worst days. Next time you feel like is moving too fast, do a little research on the practice of mindfulness. Remember to try and control your breathing first and focus on what your inner self has to say. Like I said, life is crazy and moves so fast. Take the time occasionally to slow down, breathe, and enjoy things- regardless of the speed at which they move- for what they are with a little bit of mindfulness.

Interested in mindfulness? Check out these cool resources to get you started!

 Written by Reilly Howard



Jaret, P., Pal, P., Salzberg, S., Boyce, B., Kuyken, W., Hunter, J., … Newman, K. M. (2020, September 24). What is Mindfulness? https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/.

PowerofPositivity. (2019, February 9). Science Explains What Happens To Your Body When You Control Your Breathing Every Day. Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude. https://www.powerofpositivity.com/benefits-control-your-breathing/.

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